Walter Kitundu is an artist and MacArthur Fellow (previously
). In this video
, he gives a lecture at the San Francisco Exploratorium about his bespoke instruments and lighting experiments. At around 16 minutes
in, he plays his digital revision of a kora
Or flammable sound waves and music. Danish Fysikshow
demonstrates a 2-D Rubens' tube (wiki
The Nordic Society for Invention & Discovery
has brought never-before-seen and totally exclusive technologies into the world, such as the Aaltopuck
(an ice hockey puck modeled after Alvar Aalto's Savoy Vase
), the Flower Shell
(a shotgun shell that shoots seeds into the ground
), the Wall of Sound
(an 8000-watt iPod dock
) and No More Woof
(a device that wraps around your dog's head and translates his or her brain waves to computerized speech
The sound of silence
- Research by Dr. Chia-Jung Tsay published in PNAS
suggests that top musicians are judged as much for the visual aspects of their performances, as much as for the aural ones, regardless of the experience level of the listener or judge
Amazing Water & Sound Experiment #2
- brusspup synchronizes his video camera to a water stream run in front of a speaker outputting a 24 Hz sine wave
Listening to what the tongue feels
First, drink some black coffee. Next, rub your tongue against the roof of your mouth. It should feel a little rough, like very fine sandpaper: the tiny bumps on your tongue, called papillae, are raised just enough to create friction against your palate.
If you now add cream to your coffee and try again, the sensation should be much smoother — almost velvety. A layer of fat and mucous is now coating your tongue, providing lubrication and preventing friction.
What you have just done was, until very recently, the most accurate method for evaluating the oral perception of fat — the precise degree of tongue-coating creaminess in milk, mayonnaise, or chocolate pudding.
Real-time MRI study of human beatboxing
, with lots of videos. See what snares, kick drum effects, cymbals and more look and sound like as they happen inside the head. Here's a BBC radio segment on the project
The Quietest Place on Planet Earth
Measured at -9.4dB, this is the quietest place on earth. There is a standing bet that anyone lasting 45 minutes in the chamber, in the dark, earns a case of beer of their choice. No one has lasted more than a half hour.
What does a magnitude 9.0 earthquake sound like
? Researchers sped up low-frequency ground waves
recorded during the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, bringing them within range of human hearing. Hear the mainshock
from just off the coast of Japan. And how it "sounded" in California
. [more inside]
Physics tricks could create one-way soundproofing.
Materials that genuinely discriminate between the direction of light or sound might be possible, according to a new study. That could make for true one-way mirrors or for directional soundproofing—imagine, for instance, a wall through which sound can enter but not escape.
Audiophoolery: Pseudoscience in Consumer Audio
. You might think that a science-based field like audio engineering would be immune to the kind of magical thinking we see in other fields. Unfortunately, you would be wrong [...] As a consumerist, it galls me to see people pay thousands of dollars for fancy-looking wire that’s no better than the heavy lamp cord they can buy at any hardware store. Or magic isolation pads and little discs made from exotic hardwood that purport to “improve clarity and reduce listening fatigue,” among other surprising claims. The number of scams based on ignorance of basic audio science grows every day. Via.
Western musical intervals are derived from speech tendencies,
according to Duke scientists. Specifically, "most of the 12 chromatic scale intervals correspond to peaks of relative power in the normalized spectrum of human vocalizations." A somewhat more layperson-friendly summary of the study is here
. [more inside]
An Introduction to Sine-Wave Speech
Play the first sound and you'll probably hear nothing but squeaks and bleeps. Play the second one and then go back to the first. Cool!
See For Yourself
- Purves Lab's optical illusions web page with empirical explanations of familiar and unfamiliar illusions.
The Sound of a Distant Rumble:
Using monitoring devices originally intended to pick up the sound of nuke launches, researchers track the underwater noise generated by the December 26 (tsunami
Eerie audio file of the slowly-building roar is included on the page. (More info here
In space, you can hear a black hole sing
). Using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory
, astrophysicists have detected a supermassive black hole in the Perseus Cluster
which has been "playing" a B-flat for 3 billion years.
Fascinating as this seemingly counterintuitive discovery (sound carrying through space) is, the real significance lies in that these "sound waves" may explain
why the superhot gases in such regions aren't cooling down and forming more stars.
Start-up demonstrates sound focusing technology.
Basically, they can project a sound to a specific point/person from up to 100m away. Minority Report is coming closer to reality by the day...
A Stunning finding
Perhaps some rock groups do this too.